February 15, 2009

From guest author, Kathie the Beltway gal

Filed under: cats,language,literature,travel — yenezie @ 4:42 pm
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Origamifreak went to DC for the holiday weekend to visit Kathie.  After being teased about “still having that old dining room lamp post up,” OF has arranged for her hostess to provide a guest entry:

It was almost unfortunate that my first introduction to C.S. Lewis were the Chronicles of Narnia books.  The stories were tedious, the children characters unrelatable and insipid, and the overuse of parentheses drove me to near madness  — not a good idea when teenagers are already emotional lunatics.  I probably could have gotten past the first two issues, but the abundant sight of parentheses was a tie breaker and I had vowed with infinity plus one that I will never read another book of his.  13 years old girls can be very unforgiving that way.

Fortunately growing up happens and along the way discovered that C.S. Lewis was much more than an author of children book, he was also a man of leveraging insights and possessed a great talent of writing plainly about our psyches in the search of meaning, morality, and myth.  Ah, see that?  A comma before “and myth”.  I’m not a grammar nazi but what is with today’s writers and so-called journalists’ habit of leaving out the comma when separating three ((THREE!) and yes I know I’ve just bitched about using parentheses) or more words, phrases, or clauses in a series?  Nowadays it seemed that only lawyers have the enough sense to correctly use commas, that alone brings sadness to the human race.  While I’m on the subject, unless you’re a novelist the period should go on the outside on the quotes, I don’t care what some Mr. Manner guy in Chicago says.  Obama is from Chicago and already he has cheezed off the European Union not yet one month into his administration.

Not only is English the international language of science, it is also the international language of the Miss Universe pageant and sport anouncements.  So it is of no surprise that foreigners could read page 739 subsection XII(s) of the stimulus bill where “buy America” translate to “protectionist” in French and so the European Union reacted with its typical nuance by crying “trade war!” (oh, so now they support the war) and Canada proclaimed with “a march to insanity!”.  At least when Rumsfield cheezed off Europeans by gabbing about “Old Europe”, he did it intentionally.

Keep this up and people will be acting like my cat toward me.


Mokey acting annoyed since Kathie allowed OF to take a photo of them. (Shunning is his favorite form of punishment.)


November 27, 2008

Hilton Head Island Reading

Filed under: literature,travel — origamifreak @ 2:10 pm

One of my sisters invited me to come to HHI with her, my brother-in-law, and his brother and sister-in-law. Having no experience of that part of the world, I of course turned to books. It is not easy to find a list of books about the area, but I think I have managed it, thanks to the search engines at Amazon and elsewhere:

It isn’t a book, but this newspaper article from last year mentions a tour that sounds like it would be really interesting, especially following the reading above.

November 5, 2008

Fearsome and Unnatural Parsnips

Filed under: food,literature — origamifreak @ 6:54 pm
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I just picked up the week’s vegetables, and after a discussion over at Dark Side of the Fridge about the relative scariness of parsnips versus celeriac, I decided to pick some up to illustrate why celeriac just looks so much tamer, when it comes to my own vegetable choices… 🙂

I submit to you Exhibit A, in which you can see both the parsnips and the celeriac I picked up today:


They’re very fresh, and I’m sure they will taste just delicious. However, the parsnips do fairly resemble something HP Lovecraft would invent!

In fact, here in Exhibit B, is something HP Lovecraft did invent:


And here is his description of it:

“If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings… It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence…” (“The Call of Cthulhu”)

A little more Googling reveals that Lovecraft was none too fond of parsnips:

Of other vegetables I like peas & onions, can tolerate cabbage & turnips, am neutral toward cauliflower, have no deep enmity toward carrots, prefer to dodge parsnips & asparagus, shun string beans & brussel sprouts & abominate spinach. I like rhubarb—& am also really fond of baked beans prepared in the ancient New England way…” (to J. Vernon Shea, 30 October 1931)

Perhaps we now know why!

By the way, I’m not the only one who has noticed this resemblance:

…and so forth. Although I think my CSA parsnips are way scarier than that tame wimpy British one.

Just sayin’.

November 3, 2008

Caldecott medal and honor books

Filed under: art,literature — origamifreak @ 5:14 pm
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It’s harder than you might think, to get a list of Caldecott Medal and Honor books with links to Amazon, but I finally found one:

1938-1969 and 1970-present

I found this out by looking for a book I loved as a child, about a clever little fish who ganged up with a bunch of other little fish to mimic a big fish for protection. Having no idea of the title or author but recalling that the illustrations were simple yet effective, I started with the list of books singled out for Caldecott mention. (My mom was big on those Caldecott and Newbery winners. If the Scholastic Book Club didn’t sell it, then we got it from the library. As a result, I was exposed to most of the winners up to about 1970.)

My hunch was correct; the book was Swimmy, a Caldecott Honor book from 1964 (beaten out that year for the Medal by the well-known and loved Where the Wild Things are).

Curious about the rest, I hunted and hunted for a list with functional links. The 2007 winner, Flotsam, looks very interesting, coincidentally also with a fishy theme.

For those researching books for children, here is a handy list of similar awards.

Chicken Soup with Rice

Filed under: food,health,literature — origamifreak @ 9:51 am

Since the oyster crackers and tomato soup stayed in, we’ll try some more solid-ish food, today:

In November’s gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail
And spout hot soup-I’ll be a whale!
Spouting once, spouting twice
Spouting chicken soup with rice

…well, OK, maybe not with the spouting or flopping, please…

July 19, 2008

Local Settings Redux

Filed under: literature — origamifreak @ 1:11 pm
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For a relatively small, rural area, there appear to be quite a few books set in the Finger Lakes. I’m reposting it here, so I’ll have a place to point when Upsaid goes away.

Here are some I’ve found and read:

Beth Saulnier
Author of five mysteries set in modern Ithaca

Claudia Bishop
Author of three “Dr. McKenzie” mysteries set in modern Trumansburg

Miriam Grace Monfredo
Author of six mysteries set in Seneca Falls in the mid 1800s

From Where We Stand: Recovering a Sense of Place
Contemporary nonfiction set on north end of Seneca Lake

Wolves and Honey: A Hidden History of the Natural World
Contemporary nonfiction set on Seneca Lake

The Botany of Desire
Mentions the collection of wild apple trees in Geneva

This one has been suggested, but I have not read it:

Fool on the Hill

Fantasy set in the magical land of Cornell University.

April 30, 2008

After 21?

Filed under: literature — origamifreak @ 8:45 pm
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Since last August I have been listening to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books in the car, on planes, in buses, and probably on trains somewhere, too. The only place I haven’t listened to them is on boats, oddly enough.

Sadly, today I heard the last, unfinished sentence of the last, unfinished book. It will be a hard series to replace. My little Civic will be strangely lonely and empty, without the benefit of an entire ship’s company in there with me. I’ve gotten very used to sharing the quarterdeck with the officers, and how on earth will we manage any broadsides, let alone three in five minutes?

Fortunately, I may have found a timely solution, via bookofjoe. Using the Literature-Map, I have a suggestion to look into historical writer Dorothy Dunnett.

Using gnooks at the same site and entering MFK Fisher, Patrick O’Brian, and Mary Renault, I’ve gotten the following additional suggestions:

* I assume they mean Robert D Kaplan?

I’ll let you know.

April 17, 2008

Local Words

Filed under: literature — origamifreak @ 8:31 pm

Last year I took a Tai Chi class held on site after work. There were a number of advanced students in there, and I used to come early and watch them before my (beginner) class.

This year the Tai Chi did not resume, so I enrolled in water aerobics at the local Chiropractic College, which is 30 min away. In the weeks between sessions our water instructor lets us join her during the free swim time. We often go out and eat as a group afterwards.

Tonight she said she had to eat fast because she was due at a friend’s poetry reading at the local library, and invited us along. I thought, “what the heck,” and came. The woman doing the reading looked strangely familiar, but I just could not place her. A club of some kind? An outdoors thing? Finally when I got home, I realized she had been in those Tai Chi classes I observed. This really is a small community.

The poet is named Patricia Roth Schwartz, and I did very much enjoy the reading and the poems. She is animated when she reads – in contrast to her Tai Chi style – and before each poem explained the context, especially when there were references to historical items. There was a mixture of material, some about her family and about growing up in West Virginia, some about aspects of Auburn prison history, from the perspective of the prisoners. She had books for sale. I bought one of each for her to autograph and for me to read.

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